FIRST PUBLISHED: Four Four Two, June 2007
By Chris Hunt

“There are so many great players to choose from that I could have picked three teams. Obviously Diego Maradona might have made my team, but as he still hasn’t apologised for the Hand Of God I didn’t select him.”


Gordon Banks (Goalkeeper)

“There have been some great goalkeepers over the years, but Gordon Banks was a hero of mine. Obviously the two things that Gordon will be remembered for is being in a World Cup-winning team and making one of the great World Cup saves of all time against Pelé. His main attribute was his calmness in goal but he had great positional play in an era when that was a big part of the game.”


Carlos Alberto (Right-back)

“I really like attacking fullbacks and Carlos Alberto was not only a good defender but he was also great at getting forward. He is still remembered for his goal at the end of the 1970 World Cup final.”


Franz Beckenbauer (Centre-back)

“I had the privilege of playing behind Franz Beckenbauer once in a charity match. My two centre-halves were Rudi Krol and Franz Beckenbauer – and I got Man Of The Match. It was right at the end of their careers so they didn’t really want to defend but they couldn’t half play. Beckenbauer had all the attributes of a world-class player. He was very good at reading the game and his distribution was exceptional. I think I’d put Beckenbauer at the back because I think he was remembered more in that position than in midfield. He never looked a natural midfield player.”


Bobby Moore (Centre-back)

“Bobby Moore was terrific defender. He always had this air of calmness and leadership about him and I also thought his reading of the game was suited to world football. He was a terrific tackler and when he got the ball he could pass it. He wasn’t what you would call a quick player but he was quick in his brain.”


Paolo Maldini (Left-back)

“Maldini is not only a terrific defender, but he can play and he can get forward and he can cross balls – he can do everything.”


Johan Cruyff (Right-midfield)

“Cruyff was more of a striker than Bobby Charlton, but he could also get over the pitch and play wide and get crosses in, as well as come through the middle. Versatility was a big part of his game. Certainly his ability was incredible. Although he didn’t play a tremendous amount of international matches, in the ones he did play he was outstanding. He typified Dutch football.”


Michel Platini (Centre-midfield)

“Platini was such a creative player – he could open a tin can up with his left foot. He was a spectacular goalscorer and a playmaker as well. Defending wasn’t the strongest part of his game but his left-foot was unique and left-footed players are very scarce in world football.”


Lothar Mattäus (Centre-midfield)

“To get 150 caps for your country as a midfield player is incredible. He’s more of a defensive midfielder than the others that I’ve selected. He can get forward and score goals but he can also defend and tackle and he’d get a bit of balance in this team.”


Bobby Charlton (Left-midfield)

“I would play Bobby Charlton wide left. He was a very unique player because he was a winger, but he was also a midfielder – and he was also a goalscorer in a different generation. He was very adaptable and his record of goals scored for England was exceptional and he’s still remembered for that spectacular goal against Portugal in the World Cup semi-final, when he came through the midfield and hit a tremendous shot.”


Pelé (Striker)

“I think Pelé was probably the greatest player of all time. He was totally gifted in every aspect: he was not only quick, but he was strong, a great dribbler, a goalscorer, and he was also a great header of the ball as well.”


Gary Lineker (Striker)

“I’d put Gary Lineker in my team simply because of his goalscoring ability. His record of games played and goals scored in international football is just what you want from an international player. Gary was a box player and a lethal striker, on the lines of Gerd Müller. I don’t think Gary would class himself as great footballer in the sense of some of the player’s that I’ve mentioned but he was an out and out goalscorer.”


Manager: Sir Alf Ramsey

“I would have to pick Sir Alf Ramsey at international level because he’s actually won the world cup but obviously Brian Clough would come a very close second. Sir Alf had what I call the x-factor – he didn’t say too much or overstate things, but when he did say something players listened. He also knew how to pick a great football team. He had the balance in the side and he knew the character of his players very well.”





Lev Yashin

“He was a big, tall goalkeeper and was tremendously athletic. I had the privilege of meeting him once when Moscow Dynamo came to Leicester.”



“I watched the World Cup in 1966 and he was outstanding, a really charismatic player.”


David Beckham

“Probably one of the best dead ball takers of all time and at his peak he could do everything.”


Ruud Krol

“He could read the game so well and he was a favourite of mine.”


John Charles

“To be able to play as a centre-half and as a striker and be equally good was tremendous.”







© Words copyright Chris Hunt 2007